Species ranges are expected to move northward with climate warming. However, species will likely encounter soil conditions that differ from their historic ranges. Black (Quercus velutina
) and chestnut (Q. montana
) oaks are expected to do well in climates that are hotter and drier, but it is unknown as to how they respond to soils of different geological histories. At a glaciated and nonglaciated site in northwestern Pennsylvania, we compared the growth, biomass allocation, and mycorrhizal association for black and chestnut oak seedlings at two different levels of light. On nutrient-poor, nonglaciated soils at high light levels, both species had greater growth and biomass accumulation than on nutrient-rich, glaciated soils. However, at low light levels, these responses were greatest on glaciated soils, especially for chestnut oak. Although mycorrhizal association was beneficial on nonglaciated soil at high light levels, low light levels were associated with reduced growth when compared to glaciated soils. In low light and nutrient-poor soils, mycorrhizal association may result in a carbon sink with lower net photosynthesis, as carbon for plant growth is, instead, allocated to the mycorrhizae symbiont. Variable species response to soil types indicates reduced performance for black and chestnut oak seedlings on high-quality glaciated soils especially in high light environments.
specific leaf area
Pile, Lauren S; Rebbeck, Joanne; Brose, Patrick H; Long, Robert P. 2019. Black and Chestnut Oak Seedling Response to Glaciated Soil: Implications for Northward Expansion in Response to Climate Warming. Forest Science. 65(5): 637-643. https://doi.org/10.1093/forsci/fxz009.